South Carroll County residents give stop sign to plan to alleviate highway traffic problems

They fear proposed roads will ruin neighborhoods

January 10, 1999|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

Many residents of Carroll's most populated area are opposing the roads projects that could relieve traffic on major thoroughfares, particularly Routes 26, 32 and 97.

The Freedom Area Comprehensive Plan, which would guide growth in South Carroll for the next six years, proposes 21 road projects. Many would allow traffic to circulate through neighborhoods and avoid using highways. Other projects would complete long-planned connections to the thoroughfares.

But residents attending a public hearing before the Carroll County Planning and Zoning Commission on Thursday complained of the potential for increased traffic in their neighborhoods.

"We could have a lot of mini [Route] 26's," said Greg Fornaro of Taper Court. "We don't want to bear the brunt of mistakes made in the past."

In a 1977 plan for the area, Route 26 was supposed to be a scenic road, with sidewalks and a grass median through Eldersburg. Today, it is a high-traffic thoroughfare, with eight stoplights in less than a mile. Widening eliminated any possibility for a median, and sidewalks are incomplete.

Residents decried the projects, calling many of them unsafe, environmentally unsound and a boon to developers.

"Why would you build a road to take traffic off Route 26 and put it right back onto Route 32?" asked Ray Strozyk, a resident of the Evans Meadow subdivision. "You are just building these roads to make developers richer."

The plan proposes extending Piney Ridge Parkway to Route 32 near Evans Meadow in the hope of diverting traffic from Route 26. Residents of the community submitted 135 signatures opposing the parkway extension and urging improvements to the highways.

Carl Traenkner of Candlewick Court said the extensions would only bring more traffic to established neighborhoods.

"Our roads are country roads," he said. "We don't need more traffic through our neighborhoods. We have to fix [Routes] 26, 32 and 97."

Criticism of the plan continued for nearly three hours.

"I am afraid my street will become a bypass," said Phil D'Adamo of Fern Way, which would be linked to Piney Ridge Parkway. "People came here tonight because we love our town. Don't allow flawed progress to creep into our community."

Residents of Todd Lane petitioned against extending Marriottsville Road, and residents of the Edgewood subdivision submitted 210 signatures opposing improvements to Caren Drive.

"Don't build these roads just because they are left from some other plan," said Mike Dean, a Caren Drive resident.

Many of the projects were envisioned in the 1977 growth plan but were never funded.

Mike Naused said the proposed improvements to Marriottsville Road from Snowden Creek across Liberty Road to Todd Lane would have "a severe environmental impact" on Liberty Reservoir. Road construction would begin within a few hundred yards of the water supply for millions of people and would cross two feeder streams.

"It is a waste to pursue an illogical road without a viable purpose," said Naused, who lives on Todd Lane. "Eldersburg is first and foremost a residential community, and we want it to stay that way."

The commission heard comments from 54 people and received many letters as well as the petitions.

Pub Date: 1/10/99

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